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China presented positive trade data results on Friday as its import and export growth accelerated, showing that the country’s economy is still holding up and expanding at a strong rate.

Economist Julian Evans-Pritchard said that today’s figures suggest that not only has strong foreign demand continued to boost manufacturing activity in the country, but domestic demand remains resilient as well.

A customs spokesman stated that global recovery supported the demand for export, while shipments to Europe, Japan, and the US have recovered in September.

Chinese Import Rise on Strong Demand for Industrial Materials

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According to the data released by the General Administration of Customs, imports climbed to 18.7 percent to $169.8 billion in dollar value in September, compared to the 13.3 percent in August. It also surpassed analysts’ expectation of a 13.5 percent increase.

Industrial resources were once again the major driver for China’s imports, which have been increasing at a double-digit speed since January.

With the construction business booming throughout the year plus healthy activity in factories, the demand for Chinese materials, including steel and copper has been growing.

Customs’ figures showed that imports of copper as well as copper products increased by 26.5 percent on a year to year basis in September, while unwrought copper hit 430,000 tonnes, its highest monthly level since March.

It was up 10.3 percent from 390,000 tonnes in August, whereas it was at 340,000 tonnes in September 2016.  

Higher commodity prices also helped strengthen imports, with shipments of iron ore rising 10.6 percent to a record of 103 million tonnes, from 88.7 million tonnes in August.

As a result of the jump in import value, China’s trade surplus was down to its lowest level since March of $28.47 billion, way below the $42 billion the previous month and analysts’ forecast of almost $40 billion.

Chinese Export Climb on Strong Global Demand

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Exports rose for the seventh straight month by 8.1 percent to $198.3 billion on robust external demand for goods from the world’s second-largest economy, though it fell short from estimates of 8.8 percent, but was still higher than August’s 5.5 percent.

Economist Chi Lo said that despite of exports not meeting expectations, they were still strong since the growth of the Chinese yuan would have an impact on the data and global demand was present as well to support the demand for the country’s exports.

The rebound in Chinese exports is among the contributing factors of the country’s economic growth this year.

Exports were also optimistic elsewhere across Asia as it climbed to records in September in both South Korea and Taiwan, while data in August showed robust growth in Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore.

China’s North Korea Import and Export Falls in September

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Although China’s imports and exports seem to be doing pretty good in other countries, it was the opposite in North Korea as they both fell in September, as multiple missile and nuclear tests from Pyongyang has led to greater tensions on the Korean Peninsula.  

Data provided by the customs showed that China’s imports from North Korea dropped 37.9 percent in September, marking its seventh consecutive month of decline, with seafood imports from North Korea not being recorded.

Chinese exports to Pyongyang were down by 6.7 percent from a year earlier.  

Overall, the figures created a trade surplus of $1.07 billion in the first nine months of this year.

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